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Book RoundTrip or Buy Flexible Return Ticket

Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2015
#1
I am looking at flying with Iberia Air and I feel like there are three options, I don't know which is most cost effective.

1. Book flight out and wait to book flight back until we know for sure when we are returning. Don't know how expensive last minute flights are.

2. Book roundtrip flight with flexible return ticket to not be held to a return date.

3. Book flights and pay fee for potential change of date.

Thank you ahead of time.
 

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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#2
With Iberia, the fine print counts. They will say that you can change your ticket for, say, $275. When you go to change it, you find that the change fee applies only to available fares on identical flights. Those seats on those flights will not exist. That means that you will actually be charged the difference between what you paid, probably a deep discount, and the going full fare. In my experience, it was over $1,000. Plus $275.

One way fares on Iberia are very expensive. Changing your plans is very expensive. If you are trying to save money, you really need to make up your mind, then walk in order to meet your plane!

Buen camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
we are due out Jan 2016
#3
I am looking at flying with Iberia Air and I feel like there are three options, I don't know which is most cost effective.

1. Book flight out and wait to book flight back until we know for sure when we are returning. Don't know how expensive last minute flights are.

2. Book roundtrip flight with flexible return ticket to not be held to a return date.

3. Book flights and pay fee for potential change of date.

Thank you ahead of time.

Pamela you more or less answered your own question..your option are all there

option one is never going to be that cheap unless your book two weeks before and your entering out of season

I would go for option 3.

out of interest I book a lot of flights and seldom take all of them for various reasons.so I look to get value for my money and reduce this cost . I found sometimes booking a single outgoing then a single return separately booked can be cheaper
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#4
Pamela - Where are you flying from? That matters a lot, for this question.

In my experience, return flights from Canada to Europe are so much cheaper than flexible or one-way bookings that I make the best estimate of the timing, and book the return. Yes, the change fee would be about $300, plus the fare difference (which will be considerable because it is based on the usually-higher price at that later date of booking). Last year I had to do that because a funeral changed my plans, and it cost almost as much as 2 return trips would have. (This is not a complaint about air fares, which are so much less, relatively speaking, than in my youth.)

This fare structure might not be true of flights from the UK or other points in Europe. Within Canada, for example, all fares are based on one-way, so a return trip is just the sum of the same one-way trips.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2015
#5
We would be flying from New York (USA). We just didn't want to feel pressured to have a deadline to finish and catch a flight and were trying to figure out the most affordable way to do this ahead of time.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
we are due out Jan 2016
#6
We would be flying from New York (USA). We just didn't want to feel pressured to have a deadline to finish and catch a flight and were trying to figure out the most affordable way to do this ahead of time.
Pamela

Falcon269 makes a lot of sense here

it can really help others to help you if you give times and dates of travel to camino and return being flexible if possible with the departure dates from home.....it also works well to suit a flight with a landing time as early as possible . be aware in Europe we use the day then month not the other way round.....just in case your not aware
 
#7
As far as I know, all airlines with change fees are somewhat sneaky with re-booking you. Iberia is not unusual in that regard. Changing a flight incurs the change fee (usually $275 in the US) plus whatever increase in fares has occurred since the time you bought your ticket. That usually means that you pay a LOT for rebooking. I have in fact known people who just buy another round trip ticket and use half of it to go home. The cost of two RT tickets is frequently much lower than changing your reservation on your original ticket.

I think the hands down cheapest thing is to pick your return date and buy a roundtrip ticket, leaving in as many wiggle room days as you can. Then if you have a lot of days left over at the end, you can either walk to Muxia and/or Finisterre, go visit some other place nearby (lots of great spots to visit in Galicia, Asturias, Portugal, etc.), or walk a short camino such as the Inglés from La Coruña, the Portugués from Tui, or the Vdlp from Ourense. Those of us in the US are at a real disadvantage when it comes to flexibility, unlike the Europeans who can just reserve a trip home a few days out of Santiago. I do this every year and always build in what I think are four extra days, so I can then walk to Muxia-Finisterre if I'm right or just slow down a bit if I'm wrong. Buen camino, Laurie
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#8
We just didn't want to feel pressured to have a deadline to finish and catch a flight
That is a very common pressure! It can be more intense if you set up a lot of criteria for what you are doing, things like places you must stay, starting in France, walking every step regardless of health or weather, carrying your backpack every step, staying only in albergues (or private accommodations), being alone (or being part of a camino family), etc. Cut yourself a lot of slack on your mental image of a "proper pilgrimage." Allowing thirty-five days for the actual walking from SJPdP is almost always sufficient. If it becomes insufficient, then start a few days with a bus or taxi ride so that you cover 40km or more. If you have too much time, Santiago is a fascinating city, and you will have time to walk or bus to Fisterra or Muxia.

Walk in a relaxed manner, and the time for the return flight departure is not a barrier, and you will avoid some major airfare charges!:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2015
#9
Thank you everyone. This is my first trip internationally so coming from Arizona to Madrid is so exciting. I'm not looking to leave until late April so I'm trying to do all my homework. I will be traveling with a companion who is more well-traveled internationally so it's exciting and scary. Sitting on a plane for hours a time, being in a new country and not knowing Spanish very well, making connecting legs of travel to get to the starting point are actually more intimidating for me than the walk:)
 

KentuckyJay

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hiked Leon to Santiago in May, 2014.
Hiked Porto to Santiago in May, 2016.
#11
I am looking at flying with Iberia Air and I feel like there are three options, I don't know which is most cost effective.

1. Book flight out and wait to book flight back until we know for sure when we are returning. Don't know how expensive last minute flights are.

2. Book roundtrip flight with flexible return ticket to not be held to a return date.

3. Book flights and pay fee for potential change of date.

Thank you ahead of time.
I was in a similar situation in May, 2013. I had a round trip ticket from Lexington, KY through Charlotte. After completing my Camino a few days early, I paid $300 to return early. Since I purchased my original tickets at a decent price, I felt okay about it. It would cost about the same if I had remained in Europe the extra days and had to pay for lodging, etc. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#12
Conventional wisdom, not really proven by actual data studies, is that you will find the best fares about 60 days in advance of a flight and purchased on a Tuesday (this article says Sunday after a nod to conventional wisdom)!!
http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-best-day-to-buy-airline-tickets-1413999377
Wrong answer for travelers from the US to Spain! That is true for domestic flights, but if you read the article carefully to the end, it says that international ticket prices start to go up about three months before departure. Here is the exact quote:

"International ticket prices didn’t fluctuate much between 10 months and three months before departure. Through that seven-month period, the average price of tickets sold range between about $1,000 and $1,150. Then about three months before departure, airlines start raising prices... Average cost: $1,368."
 
Last edited:

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#13
After completing my Camino a few days early, I paid $300 to return early.
That is probably the usual experience with many airlines. My comments were directed solely at Iberia with which I had experience trying to change a ticket!:) A ticket change with them seems to be viewed as an upsell opportunity...
 

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